you're reading...
Mirror Neurons, Philosophy

Adam Smith (1723-1790) on mirror neurons and empathy

Adam Smith (1723-1790) on mirror neurons and empathy

Nicolas Baumard

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Blog, Nicolas’ Blog

This post is part of a series on the ‘history of human sciences’.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

OK, I admit. Adam Smith never talked about mirror neurons. So why am I bringing this topic up? Because Smith actually did, in a way, tackle the debate about mirror neurons and empathy.

What is this debate? In recent years, empathy, understood as the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sentient being, has received more and more interest. In particular, the study of the neural underpinnings of empathy has received increased interest following a Behavioral and Brain Sciences target article published by Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal, following the discovery of mirror neurons in monkeys that fire both when the creature watches another creature perform an action as well as when they perform it themselves. In their paper, they (as well as others like Gallese) argued that perception of the object’s state automatically activates neural representations, and that this activation automatically primes or generates the associated autonomic and somatic responses, unless inhibited.

via Adam Smith (1723-1790) on mirror neurons and empathy.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: